John Brogden (1798-1869)

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John Brogden (2 February 1798 – 9 December 1869) was a cleansing, building and railway contractor, railway promoter, a miner of coal and iron and an iron smelter. He was brought up on a farm near Clitheroe, Lancashire. As a young man he migrated to a rapidly growing Manchester and applied his farmer's knowledge of horses as a cleansing contractor. He worked in partnership with Joseph Whitworth to use the latter's patent cleansing machines. He also started the same business in Westminster. He seems to have extended his contracting work to building, for in 1838 he obtained contracts with the Manchester and Leeds Railway Company to build their Manchester station (now Manchester Victoria station) and the viaduct from there to Miles Platting. Other railway contracts followed.As the eldest four of his five sons came of age and joined him to form John Brogden and Sons he took iron-mining leases in Furness. They quickly saw that a rail link from Furness to the rest of England and Wales was critical to the industrial development of Furness so they promoted the Ulverston and Lancaster Railway to run across Morecambe Bay from Carnforth to Ulverston, receiving the Royal Assent in 1851. This was an innovative, challenging and risky project but it was eventually completed in 1857 and soon purchased by the Furness Railway.Beginning in 1853 the family expanded into South Wales buying mining leases and an Iron Works in the Llynfi and Ogmore Valleys. They developed these vigorously, also building a railway in the Ogmore Valley and a new harbour at Porthcawl.From an early age Brogden was a Methodist and in later life he contributed generously in time and money to Methodist and other good causes.When John Brogden died in 1869, his business was outwardly strong and profitable. However it failed spectacularly within ten years, under the leadership of Alexander Brogden, the eldest surviving son.

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